The Amherst Town Board drew remarkably few people to its second hearing on the proposed 2013 budget.
Supervisor Barry Weinstein’s proposed $116.5 million budget increases spending by 1.2 percent, or about $1.4 million. However, higher revenue projections, some spending cuts and an increased use of town reserves would keep the town’s property tax levy flat.
Chris Drongowski, a member of the Recreation Commission, said the commission supports the restoration of some funding to the Youth and Recreation budget.
The proposed budget cuts $35,000 from seasonal and part-time golf course personnel. It also cuts $95,000 from programs provided by nonprofit groups through contracts with the town.
Weinstein’s budget also makes some cuts to the Police Department, including cuts to police vehicle replacements, replacement of officers and traffic support for road races and other community events. However, no one spoke for or against those cuts Monday.
The board is expected to consider all budget amendments and vote on the adoption of the 2013 budget at its next meeting Monday. A final public hearing to comment on the budget will also be held.
In other news, the board:
• Unanimously agreed to settle five property assessment challenges for the 2012-13 tax season, including three from a nursing home corporation, one from Transit Valley Country Club and one for a new Key- Bank on Niagara Falls Boulevard.
Assessments for the Oakwood, ElderWood and Glenwood nursing home properties were reduced from 2011-12 by varying amounts. The greatest assessment reduction, for the Oakwood property at 200 Bassett Road, will reduce the assessment from $8 million to $7.5 million.
Transit Valley Country Club, meanwhile, will see its assessment rise from $3.72 million to $3.80 million instead of $4 million, as originally assessed for 2012-13.
The current settlement will keep the country club’s assessment level fixed for the next five years.
Weinstein said the settlements will result in a net loss of about $5,000 in property taxes.
He added that 27 property owners have challenged their assessment for the upcoming tax season. Such settlement agreements used to be handled solely by the Assessor’s Office but now must be approved by the Town Board.
• Agreed to spend $177,990 to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the town’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The study is part of a settlement reached between the town and the Department of Environmental Conservation to address past permit violations that resulted in polluted water being dumped into Tonawanda Creek.
The town has hired CRA Infrastructure and Engineering to conduct the study.
• Learned that the Town of Tonawanda has agreed to lend the Town of Amherst its signal platform truck, free of charge, to complete a traffic signal installation at the intersection of Hopkins and Dodge roads.
The need for the truck resulted from a major accident Oct. 1 on Main Street that seriously injured two Highway Department employees and damaged a traffic signal truck when it was struck by a passing tractor-trailer.